The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light — “REPENT, for the kingdom is at hand!”
The readings are about the joy of the emerging Light that shines to enlighten the hearts of men and women, calling us to freedom by following Christ. The heavy yoke — the burden of sin — can be left behind as we break free to follow that Light of Life.
Repentance or turning away from sin is necessary to be able to follow the Light or, as Jesus puts it, to enter the kingdom. Hence, to be able to undergo this journey we need to form our conscience to know what is sin, and what is of God.
Our aim is to live in the Light. Otherwise said, this is the integration of our life in God’s so that our attitudes, desires, memories (conscious and non-conscious) and our will — all allow our inner being to open out to God to ‘stand’ before Him in peace. When we have no fear and nothing to hide, then our love has come to perfection and every fibre in us is lovingly directed to God.
Again the way to live in this Light is follow our conscience. As our conscience can be erroneous (and often is) we need to correct it and continuously form it through following the commandments, by adhering to the precepts of the Church, by being obedient to our superiors, by being guided by the Word of God and the Church’s teachings, by a regular exam and frequent confession, and overall by submitting ourselves to Christ.
There are three stages in this education in freedom, i.e. to form our conscience so we can be set free to follow the Light of Christ. The 1st is to accept the discipline of life, based on rules and moral laws. The 2nd stage is inward. We must train ourselves through prayer to listen as “deep within our conscience we discover a law which he has not laid upon us but which we must obey. The voice of this law, ever calling us to love and do what is good and to avoid evil, tells us inwardly at the right moment: do this; shun that. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God” (Catechism, 1776).
The 3rd stage is mastery of our actions and the union of our will, desires, attitudes etc. with God. When we have mastered living in the Light we come to peace, we come to union with God, and we desire only what God wants.
This 3rd stage is what we all must aim for — to be set free to live in the Light. Only then will we be prepared for that great day of judgment which will then be for us the day we are set free from the limitations of this world by entering the next, covered in the glory of Christ. Please God, Amen!